Self care tips from an ‘all or nothing’ mom…
Self care is all the rage. And it seems like it usually comes down to bubble baths and chocolate. I’m all for relaxing but sometimes you need to be more extreme to really look after yourself. Sometimes you need to do things that are less about indulgence and more about common sense and honesty. Here are 10 of my self care tips for surviving modern motherhood:
Quit something that doesn’t make you happy. I know that this might seem logical. But sometimes it’s difficult to spot these things. For me it was social media. Since quitting, I’ve felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. And I’ve also got a lot more time to do things that do make me happy such as writing and reading.
Don’t drink too much coffee. I know we all love to joke about how caffeinated we are as moms; how it fuels our lives and how we can’t cope without coffee. And I adore coffee as much as the next mom. But too much makes me feel anxious and jumpy. So I try to control how much I drink in a day.
Say ‘no’ to emotional vampires. Don’t let people suck your energy. You need your energy for more important things. Sounds harsh but there is a lot of power and relief in saying ‘no’. If your heart sinks when you see a certain person calling or messaging, then they’re probably not doing you any good.
Eat healthily. Pretty obvious, I know. But the effects can be amazing! I’m the queen of stress and comfort eating. And could devour a whole pizza right this second. But unfortunately it’s such a short-lived joy. I’ve recently cut out sugar and my anxiety levels have noticeably dropped. I find that eating well makes me feel better, physically as well as mentally.
Swap that glass of wine for a glass of water. Now I sound like some crazy health guru! But alcohol is a known depressive. And unless you can drink just one glass (not me), then you might find that drinking water will make you happier.
Sleep as much as you can. If only I could sleep as much as I wanted! Anyway, I do try to sleep as much as I can. I stopped binge watching TV as well. Because when it’s bed time, it’s bed time. No show is worth waking up with a lack-of-sleep hangover. And if I wake up in the middle of the night, I don’t reach for my phone. That used to keep me up for hours!
Work up a good sweat. Exercise is the best kind of medicine. Once again, a given. Obviously yoga has amazing benefits. And moving your body in any way is going to be beneficial. But I find that I need to sweat as much as possible. If I’m not hyperventilating and perspiring profusely, then I haven’t done enough. What I love about working out regularly, is that the effects can spill into other days. For me I start to feel an underlying feeling of calm.
Be honest with yourself. Take a long hard look at your life. If something is really bringing you down, then do your best to change it. For instance, I had what appeared to be a good job, on paper. It was super flexible and I worked autonomously. It paid well and I got to travel. But I hated it. It was super stressful and negative. Luckily I had the opportunity to change my job and to arrange my life in a way that was better suited for me and my family. It has done so much to make me feel more relaxed.
Get out of your head. I find that overthinking can suck the joy out of life. I’m someone who can wallow and obsess. So sometimes I need to escape. This used to mean drinking a lot. But now I try to replace this with healthier escaping methods. My guilty pleasure is listening to true-crime podcasts. (SSDGM)
Get some love in your life. A good cuddle can sometimes be just what you need. It can erase a bad mood and strengthen family bonds. I know that sometimes we all want to run in the opposite direction of our kids. But maybe try a hug next time? It could be just the ticket to making you feel better.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of self care tips. Or one that might work for you. These are a few tools that I try to use to cope with motherhood in this pressurized and fast-paced world. I would love to hear if you have any other suggestions?